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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 24, 2012 2:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, my....zzzzz.

Ha! Good class curriculum selections!

And thx for taking it the right way...I think you know me well enough that I can relax and stop worrying about it all...ie, me doing the wrong thing hereabouts.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Jun 24, 2012 3:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Belated Gaia thoughts for Tell... zzzzz for others no doubt

As I understand it, the central underpinning of the Gaia hypothesis isn't that controversial and is fairly obvious, that being that a closed system will eventually reach a state of equilibrium. The biological and geochemical cycles running on the Earth may be a particularly complex closed system but it's surely not a surprise that given millions of years to run the various elements of the Earth system settle in to an equilibrium state with a number of self-sustaining feedback loops. What happens when any outside perturbation upsets the equilibrium depends on the size of the perturbation and the resilience of the feedback loops. A sufficiently large perturbation, such as massive and prolonged volcanic activity or an asteroid strike will likely result in a new equilibrium that is somewhat less than favourable to the larger lifeforms currently taking up residence. Releasing a few quadrillion tonnes of previously sequestrated carbon dioxide into the atmosphere might just nudge things in the wrong direction too.

So far, so uncontroversial to my mind. Where Lovelock went astray was in declaring that he 'saw the Earth as in certain ways alive' because of the systems that were maintaining the equilibrium, and in adopting William Golding's suggestion that he call his idea Gaia, which was a total gift to the less than scientifically rigorous Earth Mother greenies. I think there's an interesting idea lurking at the heart of Gaia, it's just a pity that it gets obscured by a needless and ill-judged decision to give it a supernatural persona.

Hope you're well, old friend.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 24, 2012 5:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Belated Gaia thoughts for Tell... zzzzz for others no doubt

Hey Rob! Well, I think that the more popular view, as this one, taken from Wiki, is more than just the essence you describe:

"...proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet..."

It's these notion of "integration...regulation...for life" that is completely silly.

Should've made clear I only object to this "masses/popular" view of it, as promulgaed by those that popularized it, that make much more of these silly ideas. Some of the bare bones stuff you describe has more to do with the laws of thermodynamics and the like, and are, as you allude, relatively uninteresting.

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Poster: capsgd Date: Jun 25, 2012 10:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Belated Gaia thoughts for Tell... zzzzz for others no doubt

the equilibrium is our star going nova.

humanity went through 3 or more ice ages/global warming
was Fred Flintstones car to blame?
(I thought Fred's foot powered car was ecological)

maybe the earth is like a boxer reaching dementia
which punch was one too many-seems academic,
-and too late for the boxer.
I guess you need to break the eggs to make an omelet.
who ordered the omelet?
man-amals